The Idea: simple enough: to cook a meal together with an accomplished Chef at my home / kitchen and have some great company and wine to complement it with…
So while shopping with Yossefi at Tomer the Butcher (of Tzook Farm) we planned the meal, first second and main courses were wrapped up in situ from the fresh ingredients on offer at Tomer’s, Still I felt like some sea food for balance and offered to prepare crystal giant shrimps rolled in Zucchini, fried in Goose fat, with froth of champagne shrimp sauce a great recipe I picked years ago from a Robuchon book, but Yossefi offered langoustine risotto and after all he is the Chef!!! so I went gladly along with the idea, I love fresh Langoust and they’re not easy to get here… that sorted out third course, for desert we’ll have my cousin’s Dalit amazing Austrian style chocolate Gugelhopf with home mage Ice cream (the kitchen is well equipped)
The Venue: my “tastefully furnished”, kitchen and dining room at home near Tel-Aviv.
Chef: Yair Yossefi (Y.Y), my friend, with an impressive resume: worked with “greats” like, Pierre Gagnaire au 6 rue Balzac – Paris 8, and Guy Martin au Grand Véfour, Restaurant Lasserre in avenue Franklin Roosevelt Paris amongst others. His fingertips are burning to cook for others his palate yearning for good old Bordeaux’s (from my cellar) he’s a bourgundian buff. Since than Yossefi has opened the already acclaimed Bistro Elba t in 36 Ibn Gabirol Street Tel-Aviv Tel: 03-5467905
1. Lionell Pinot (L.P), Chef de Partie de legume (vegetable peeler) and Sommelier du maison for the day. He is now the Sommelier at Elba!!
2. Me (A.S) the Wineguide, as Gaffer (ga for this ga for that) Kitchen coordinator and keeper of wine!
The food / menu :
* Roast Bone marrow (on the bone), Shimeji mushrooms, champignons, butter fried Challa (brioche style Friday bread) and radishes.
* Pot au feu Soup (consommé) with oxtail raviolis.
* Langoustine risotto foie gras cubes and grilled crayfish on a stick
* Saddle of lamb stuffed with lamb offal and herbs with butter sautéed yellow carrots
* Warm Chocolate Kugelhopf with Crème pâtissière ice cream
Selection of French cheese
The Wines: (don’t be jealous)
Welcome drink: Bollinger Grande Annee 1995, this is a highly regarded vintage by the Bollinger house. It already, shows good secondary Aromas of mushroom and a slightly burned butter toast, latter showing more cream caramel style in aroma and touch. It is so open, expressive, and forceful in character that these qualities carry through onto the palate where there are notes of honey, brazil nuts and dried mushrooms, even hints of truffles and caramelized dried orange peel. This has a great style and lots of impact, and although very evolved it has good acidity I wish we had 3 more bottles of this wine which turned to be a box of delights, HEAVEN!!!!!!!!!!!
We were hungry and thirsty so we went on to open the wine brought by Lionel the 2007 Puligny-Montrachet Louis CARILLON et Fils what a delightfull wine to start the meal with fresh and modest wine after all this is not a premier or grand cru wine but the aromas of minty peach and the finesse of the lightly toasted almonds really appealed to me but we were 5 at the table and one bottle does not go a long way in our district so we proceeded to the surprise wine of the meal, is it drinkable at all? Is it a gonner?
After all it is a Magnum of 1962 Maison Noemie Verneaux Mersault Charmes, at best a 48 years old White wine from an extraordinary Bourgogne vintage !!! and at worst an unusable vinegar. It’s not easy to open a 48 year old Magnum with the cork “stuck” firmly by what turned to be some sort of deposits that sealed the bottle (luckily) with a hard resin like material. The wine was reborn into the glasses of all of us anticipating bunch, it started as deep gold in color with nice aromas of slightly oxidized very old bourgogne, with an excellent dry fino sherry touch, more like a good old Vin Jaune with its nuttyness but this wine for at least the first 20 minutes of his rebirth kept a fair amount of fruity acidity, as if to remind us of its origin. It was impressive and highly rewarding with depth in tertiary aromas of its nutty bouquet with austerity full bodied touch. As the time passed by the color deepened into old gold yellow-brown color almost maderized but drinkable all the time and that kept us happy throughout the Pot au feu and for some the Languste & Foie Gras, personally I would have prefered a more fresh and acidic wine for this dish. The Langustine stock was creamy and rich (without any cream added!!! (YY) the risotto was made in the traditional manner with us sous chefs having to stir constantly under the chef’s lashes. The foie gras cubes added an extra creaminess to the dish and the firm langustine inside their shells were made properly. So some opted for the acidic touch of the Hubert De Montille Volnay Les Champans 1999 with its austerity of fruit and earthy flavours it was a good intro into the red wine part of the meal. This is a wild bunch of wine guzzlers and no drop was left to spare…
This is a meal at home so we had to rest between dishes which is fun when you have good wine to keep you happy in between and that was not a problem since the cellar is not 39 but only 8 steps away… We started with the wine and had the meat dish well into our second pouring. Lionel was yet again summoned to honor us with the opening of our first heavy duty red wine of the evening The Saint Estephe Chateau Cos d’Estournel 1986 which was prepared well in advance. This is a glorious wine from an ace Cos vintage year and a wine I had many times over the years The 1986 is a highly extracted wine, with dark ruby color and plenty of toasty, smoky in its bouquet that suggest ripe plums and licorice. It should exhibit massive ripe fruit, with extremely concentrated flavors and has impressive depth and richness. But in hindsight maybe because it preceded our next wine, it was not to be the wine to cause all to fall off their chairs today. So we opened what turned to be the crown of the evening: Château Latour 1983. It was robed in rich, dark ruby red color slightly fading to amber. Nose with earthy, mineral scents and a seam of rich blackcurrant fruit, with a slight vegetal undertones. Medium bodied and supple. Mature, meaty flavours of plum and dried fruits, but delightful nuances of fresher violet and floral character, So many superlatives to a wonderfully balanced wine andstill fresh with a deceiving young touch even on its 27th year. The fresh fruit with mineral edge added to complexity. Very good length with a depth of fruit, properly balanced with the rounded integrated tannins. The scents of rotting mushrooms and leather soap adding to the complexity which evolved slowly in the glass into a more creamy touch of sweet dried figs compote with cinnamon and cloves. Another sigh of content was heard around the table and before long whilst we were still having our second helping of the perfectly prepared juicy Saddle And what a wine The Chateau Latour 1983t was! a perfect complement to the dish and more…
I had to take the 8 steps down the pirate ship plank to the cellar to get a wine to match or at least complement the wonderful LATOUR, my selection of Bordeaux’s is not bad for a wine cellar in a remote place, still this is a choice that has to be made quickly my guests are not a forgiving crowd…,, so I decided we would move from Paulliac to what in my mind the best Saint Emilion grand Cru Chateau. The Chateau Cheval Blanc 1988 which on its own would have been what I have on my previous tasting notes from the past: Deep shiny Bordeaux colour, looks younger than its age, with powerful, concentrated bouquet of Blackberry and blackcurrant and very spicy black pepper and cloves.Subtle oak and a slightly toasted. Very elegant and refined wine with good concentration and a classy Cheval-Blanc character. Very well balanced on the palate with freshness (reminiscent of minty green peppers), and firm tannin, but today it was shadowed by the Latour.
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The meal was glorious but as you can see it was a meal to complement a night of wine sampling rather than wines that suited a meal, that in fact does not take anything from our enjoyment of the food or our gratitude to the chef and his efforts.
Thank you Yossefi for agreeing to cook in an unfamiliar surroundings Luckily you brought you own posh chef’s knife. Thanks to Lionel, Meirav, Shaul, for the company and the insights into their impressions of the wines and Vive La France and King John for making Bordeaux (when at best) what it is. Thanks for Riedel glasses that kept the wonderful scent of the Latour well after the glasses where empty and into the desert.